Inheriting assets that are located in Spain can be a difficult process if you are unsure of how Spanish probate and succession law operates.
Whether you are named in a Will or you believe that you are entitled to a share of the deceased’s estate, it is important to obtain independent legal advice in order to realise any interest that you may have.
There is a Will
If you know there is a Will made by the deceased and that there are Spanish assets in the estate, then his or her estate is said to be testate. If you have been mentioned in the Will we will ensure that you are able to inherit your share free from stress and undue delay.
In cases where you have not been named in the deceased’s Will (whether in Spain or any other jurisdiction), but believe that you are entitled to benefit from the estate, E&G Solicitors in Spain will be able to guide you through the inheritance process to make a legitimate claim on your behalf.
It should be noted that Spain operates a system of forced heirship. This means that a specified percentage of the deceased’s estate must be distributed among his or her children. If you have assets in Spain, but do not want the rules of forced heirship to apply to your estate when you die, then it will be necessary to seek independent legal advice to seek to exclude your children from benefitting within the law.
There is no Will
In cases where the deceased has left no Will relating to assets in Spain, that part of the estate is said to be intestate. This can sometimes lead to uncertainty as to who is entitled to benefit from the deceased’s estate. In such instances, E&G Solicitors in Spain is able to advise you as to whether you will have a legitimate claim to an intestate estate and, if so, proceed with the necessary steps to register assets in your name.
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Personal Representative is a term that includes executors (individuals appointed by a testator to administer an estate) and administrators (who administer the estate where no executors have been appointed in a Will).
You will need to find out exactly who the executors or administrators of the estate are in order to proceed with your claim in respect of any estate. E&G Solicitors in Spain can assist you in locating the executors or administrators dealing with the deceased’s estate and we can continue to coordinate the administration of the estate to ensure that you receive your share without stress or undue delay.
Marketing and sale of inherited assets
You may find that you have inherited assets that you are not able to manage on a practical level, such as a property that is located in Spain. Where an issue like this arises you may find selling the asset more suited to your needs.
If you have inherited goods and they are registered in your name, E&G Solicitors in Spain can help in arranging for the marketing and sale of any assets and handle the legal aspects of the transaction on your behalf, transferring to you the net proceeds of sale once the transaction has completed.
As in the UK, you may be expected to pay inheritance tax on any asset that you inherit in Spain. The amount that you will be expected to pay depends on whether the deceased and/or the beneficiaries of the estate were resident or non-resident in the European Union, or the European Economic Area.
If you have already paid inheritance tax in Spain and you are a non-resident in Spain, you could be eligible for a rebate from the Spanish tax authority if it is found that you have paid too much. Spain’s inheritance tax rules were brought into line with European law on 1 January 2015. Prior to that, non-Spanish residents were paying inheritance tax at a higher rate than Spanish residents, notwithstanding that they were EU or EEA residents. At E&G Solicitors in Spain we can help you establish whether you are eligible for a rebate of inheritance tax and recover any overpayment on your behalf.
Any non-payment or late payment of inheritance tax can result in penalties being levied against you, so it is vital that you seek independent legal advice to ensure you have met all your obligations as a beneficiary.
If you are a beneficiary of an estate because you are named as such in a Will, or believe that you are entitled to a share of the deceased’s estate, then E&G Solicitors in Spain can also help you realise your interest and guide you through the process of Spanish inheritance, while also advising you on minimising your tax liability.